Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold

Foo Fighters have recently released their ninth studio album “Concrete and Gold.” From the beginning hearing rumors of them working with a pop producer, guest vocals by the likes of Justin Timberlake, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men fame, and Paul Mccartney on drums? I was a tiny bit skeptical to say the least. Then, I thought to myself “I have to give this record a fair chance, because if anyone can pull this off at this point it is Dave Grohl.” So, I went into this album with a hint of skepticism and a slight glimmer of hope.

I will say that this record definitely has a very dark sound to the music and a deep meaning behind the songs and lyrics. That didn’t catch me too off guard, it had a small feeling of listening to their self-titled album in some regards. In some of the songs such as “T-Shirt” and “Run” lies what to me seems to be a bit of a political undertone in the lyrics. All in all, there is not that one song or lyric that catches me and pulls me in to this record. Which I find really disappointing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that is a horrible album, just in my perspective it is not what I want or expect from a Foo Fighters album. I don’t hear or feel the edge or excitement that one grows accustom to on their records. Perhaps it’s my expectations exceeding and expecting way to much at this point, or maybe it is due to the band trying to change pace and direction a bit. Who knows?

All I will say is have a listen and form your own opinion, as you should with any album I review. My final analysis is you don’t have a great record here, and you don’t have a horrible album here. At the end of the day it is merely mediocre, which honestly may be the worst of all three because mediocrity will lead to nobody really remembering the record down the road. We shall wait and see.

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Mid Rats – Never Coming Home

Coming out of Lancaster, PA is a punk band named Mid Rats with their newest release “Never Coming Home.” The album was released in August of this year and packs a very fast, fierce, and direct punch to the face in the sense of music. This album is definitely full of aggression and fun all packed up together, and it clearly comes through in the music and lyrics.

This is not your Ramones-core punk band here, these guys remind me more of acts such as Black Flag or Germs. Listening to this album from beginning to end, every song gives you an adrenaline rush and puts you in a bad-ass mindset of sorts. For sure one of my favorite bands as of late playing this style of punk rock music, I encourage anyone who is looking for more than a catchy chorus line in their punk rock music to give Mid Rats a listen. Grab yourselves a copy of this album and get ready to smash some beers and bang your heads. Or just kick back and enjoy. Either way show some support and spread the music!!

 

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RADD – Selfishly Titled

Out of Youngstown, Ohio comes a band so cool, so fun, and so rock and roll that I guess you could say they are, RADD!!! RADD released their first full lenth album on August 29, 2017 called “Selfishly Titled.” I guess you could consider this band a supergroup depending on who you talk to. Sounds good in my mind at least. All the band members having played in other groups some of whom are The Spastic Hearts, Johnie 3, First In Space, The Lebowskis, The Hollywood Blondes, and Hi-Life.

This album starts off strong with its opening song “Red Light” which is just the beginning of the punk rock assault that the rest of the album has in store. I can definitely here a lot of influence from bands such as The Ramones and The Descendants as well as a few chords here and there that bring me back to some of the old Johnie 3 albums. Having listened to this album enough times that I have since lost count, I find that it is very tough to pick a favorite song. I will say that off the top of my head the stand out songs for me are definitely “Crossed My Heart”, ” American Psycho”, and the track that ends the album “Anyway.”

The songs are all well written and the music is very tight and on the money. It is near impossible not to catch yourself singing along at some point or another while listening to the album. For it being Mikey doing lead vocals on an album for the first time the vocals turned out great. And Stiv and Ang sharing lead vocals on “Crossed My Heart” is like magic. The song grabs my attention and causes me to reminisce over that one break up that I think most of us have lived through. Not to mention Beau Basement on the drums that carry the music throughout the album!!!! This is easily in my top albums of 2017 and will be in heavy rotation for quite some time.

Do yourself a favor and be sure to grab your self a copy of RADD- Selfishly Titled on cd and cassette tape. Yes, that is right, I said cassette tape. So, dig out your old walk man and wipe away that dust and run down to the local dollar store for your AA batteries and throw on those headphones as you escape the threat of nuclear destruction for just awhile and allow yourself to enjoy the music and feel RADD for just a little while.

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First In Space – A Different Animal

A Different Animal is the fifth studio release from Youngstown, Ohio rock band First in Space. This record in my opinion may be their best release to date. It boasts the ever faithful staple that have held true on all of the previous albums leading right into this new album, which is amazing songwriting, stellar musicianship, and just a tight well rounded sound. Their is also a new face in the mix on guitar, Josh, who is already familiar with the Youngstown music scene as part of Idle Shades.

This album is awesome from start to finish. It is filled throughout with a very 90’s alternative sound to the music. If you are a true fan of just straight up rock and roll without the labels and need to lump it into one genre than this is for sure an album for you to get your hands on. First in Space never fails to release an album with strong lyrics and a very solid sound. Along with the album, be sure to catch these guys live. The live shows are always entertaining and well played just as the album. So grab yourself a copy of this album, kick back with a Jack and Coke, and just enjoy!!!!

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Ratbones – Pop Experience

Ratbones are a ramones-core punk rock band from Genova, Italy. They list their interests as The Ramones, and only the Ramones!! You can definitely hear that interest and influence in their music. The Ratbones released their newest EP in April of 2017 titled “Pop Experience.” The EP was released on I Buy Records and Monster Zero Records.

“Pop Experience” is a 4 track EP with a great old school punk rock sound and vibe to it. It the tradition of old school punk, the songs are short and sweet, but just long enough to grab your attention and cause you to crave some more. The first track Storm in My Mind to me has a bit of a Dee Cracks Killed my TV Set sound to it before the vocal kick in. The all around recording of the EP has the sound of a live recording to some extent, while still being very well put together.

Having to recently come across the Ratbones, despite the fact they have been around since 2003, it was a pleasant surprise to see a guest vocalist on their song Dyna, the guest vocalist being Jimmy Vapid. This EP packs a punch and definitely will have me digging deeper into the other music that the Ratbones have out there, eager to hear what I have been missing out on.

If you are a fan of Ramones-core punk rock, or punk rock in general be sure to give the Ratbones a listen. I think you will find yourself pleasantly surprised. I would love to see these guys on tour in the U.S. sometime in the near future, I imagine their live shows would be a great time.

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Proton Packs – Conspiracy 66

So, for the past week or so I have been listening to a band from Siena, Italy named Proton Packs. The album I have been listening to is their third lp, it was released on Moms Basement Records in the US and Commando Records in Italy. It is a very catchy album with a conspiracy/ espionage theme. The album is called “Conspiracy 66.”

I personally find the album is very well written in the way of lyrics and music. It is not going to be that album of the year that kicks your teeth in with an in your face fast paced aggression by no means, which is one of my favorite features of the album. It is nice to hear a punk band with a nice laid back approach every now and then, but still with the attitude and conviction in the music. That says a lot about a band and in my opinion shows a great maturity.

Proton packs with no doubt follow the old school punk rock manual of songwriting with the songs be short sweet and to the point. The songs clock in at 3 minutes or making them just long enough to get your attention but no so long that you lose interest before it ends. Listening to their third lp “Conpriacy 66” has made me wonder how I have not heard of these guys before now, they are really good and I look forward to catching up on their past two lp’s for sure in the very near future.

So, if you are looking for good punk rock album to kick back and enjoy be sure to grab yourself a copy of Proton Packs “Conpiracy 66”. I think this is a great album to check out and give a chance. Awesome to hear such great music coming out of Italy, they are definitely producing some killer bands over there right now.

The Gunboat Diplomats – Fine State of Affairs

The Gunboat Diplomats are a song shop in Florida composed of songwriters, musicians and vocalists recording pop rock music with a vintage vibe. They have recently completed their first project entitled “Fine State of Affairs.” I have been listening to this album now for a month give or take. I will first start off by saying that it is a very well recorded album. Also, the musicianship is amazing with such a wide array of instruments and styles.

This is definitely a very catchy album and every song varies so much from the one before. The vocals are all over the board, and I am not saying that is a bad thing, but very different none the less. The first two tracks had me thinking I was listening to a Tom Waits album, then into track 3 in which the vocals reminded me of a Tori Amos track or maybe even Evanescence. Then you move along and find tracks that border Elvis Costello. Music wise I got a lot of similarity to a Barenaked Ladies album as well.

I truly have to say, although this would not be my choice I love this album due to the fact that every track is like a breath of fresh air. As someone who’s ipod playlist jumps all over the board it was quite refreshing to have one album do that!!! I am not a fan of every song on the album but there is not a song I completely hate either. This is an album that definitely deserves a listen if your a fan of power pop, blues rock, jazz, island troubador, and quite a few other genres. Sit back and get comfortable. Enjoy something a little different and indulge.